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mr.dr. L.M.C. Faro


Tilburg School of Humanities and Digital Sciences
Department of Culture Studies



In the field of ritual studies, the zone of memory culture is of crucial importance. Innovation and creativity result in the design of new ritual places and practices, but also in debates and collisions. In particular with regard to commemorations.

One of the remarkable developments in this memory culture zone is the phenomenon of so called 'grassroots' and spontaneous memorials. These memorials are being raised shortly after the time of a tragedy. They are characterized as instantly, performative and subjective.

In contrast with these spontaneous 'grassroots' memorials, another phenomenon in the zone of memor culture presents itself: delayed memorials'. These, sort of postponed memorials are constructed by people who lived through traumatic experiences and losses in the past. Many years later, they still feel the need to carry out a commemorative ritual at the site of a newly constructed monument.

My PhD research project is focused on these 'delayed' memorials in different settings. Main question to be answered is about the origin of the phenomenon of 'delayed' memorials.

Three dimensions are focused on:

· The societal context at the time of tragedy or disaster and at the time of construction of the memorial;

· Form, symbolism and location of the memorial;

· Meaning and function.


As a consequence of recurrent and disturbing memories, there appears to be a need for settlement of emotions and recognition of what happened at the time of the tragedy.

In their theoretical frameworks Astrid Errl and Josee Van Dijck focus on the medium of memory, in my project I consider the memorial as a 'medium' to reach a particular goal, like recognition or coming to terms with grief.


With regard to the scope and research questions of this project, it is obvious to use a qualitative, explorative and ethnographic research method. As sources for data collection semi structured interviews, ritual narratives found in media type sources, and literature are used.




In order to reach a broad perspective, the focus in this research project will be on four 'types' of 'delayed' Dutch memorials, summarized in four case studies:

  1. A 'traditional' World War II memorial: the Ravensbrück Memorial at the Museumplein in Amsterdam (1975);
  2. A new medium/type of World War II memorials: The Digital Jewish Monument and Community (2005 and 2010);
  3. Memorials for stillborn children (from 2000);
  4. The Harmelen railwaydisaster memorial (2012).



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Laatst bewerkt: 25 juli 2018